28th Annual DMN Academic Freedom Lecture
“Academic Freedom, New Politics, Old School Censorship, and Meaningful Constitutional Review”
November 28, 2018
Michigan Law, Hutchins Hall
Guest Lecturer: Gene Nichol
Nichol will explore the challenge of assuring intellectual liberty and academic freedom from outside political interference in flagship public universities. He will focus, particularly, on legislative and administrative suppression and penalization of research and publication which is critical of public policies embraced by governmental authorities. He will address both internal and external pressures on free expression and academic independence in state universities. He will argue, as well, that as freedom of speech, more broadly, is being deployed, or weaponized, for economic ideological purposes, it is being weakened as an essential component of democratic government.
Gene Nichol is Boyd Tinsley distinguished professor at the University of North Carolina. He was director of the UNC Poverty Center (2008-2015) until it was closed by the Board of Governors for publishing articles critical of the governor and General Assembly. Since 2015, his research has been supported by the N.C. Poverty Research Fund. Nichol was president of the College of William & Mary (2005-2008), law dean at the University of Colorado (1988-1995), and dean at UNC from 1999-2005.
Nichol is author of FEDERAL COURTS (West, 2015, with Marshall & Wells) and his book, THE FACES OF POVERTY IN NORTH CAROLINA, will be published in the fall by UNC Press. He’s published articles in the Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Duke, California, and Virginia law reviews. He has been a political columnist for the Rocky Mountain News and hosted a public affairs television show, Culture Wars, for KBDI in Denver. He’s been an op-ed columnist for the Raleigh News & Observer for fifteen years and writes frequently for The Progressive Populist. He has also written for The Nation and the Washington Post. He is executive producer of the documentary, “A Generation of Change: Bill Friday, Terry Sanford and North Carolina” (UNC-TV, 2016). Read more…
University of Michigan Senate Assembly Resolution
Adopted November 19,1990:
The faculty of the University of Michigan affirms that academic and intellectual freedom are fundamental values for a university in a free society. They form the foundation of the rights of free inquiry, free expression and free dissent that are necessary for the life of the university. The faculty recognizes that such rights are human creations, the product of both the reasoned actions and the deep-seated commitments of women and men. When such actions and commitments are set in human institutions, people may secure for themselves and for others, in the present and the future, the enjoyment of those rights. We also recognize that these values and the rights they imply are vulnerable to the fads, fashions, social movements and mass fears that threaten to still dissent and to censure carriers of unpopular ideas. Such was the case in 1954 when the University of Michigan suspended three faculty members and subsequently dismissed two of them. We deeply regret the failure of the University community to protect the fundamental values of intellectual freedom at that time. It is to guard against a repetition of those events and to protect the fundamental freedoms of those who come after us that we make this resolution today. The protection of academic and intellectual freedoms requires a constant reminder of their value and vulnerability. To provide for that reminder, the Faculty of the University of Michigan hereby resolves to establish an Annual Senate Lecture on Academic and on Intellectual Freedom, to be named: The University of Michigan Senate’s Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom.